HEADTEACHERS LETTER & COVID-19 UPDATE- 19th June 2020
Dear Parents and carers,
In Memory of Mr Wade
There is no greater expression of how our entire school community felt about Mark, than the inspiring tributes and incredible donations made in Mr Wade’s name.
The flowers at the front of the school have created a striking and moving visual tribute to a teacher and a person who was truly loved, respected and admired. Thank you also for managing to preserve social distancing when visiting, by arriving as individuals or in small family groups.
Thank you to all who have left cards, notes and messages for Mr Wade. Those on paper and card have been collected regularly to protect them from the rain – and have been passed on to Mr Wade’s family. We have also continually been collecting the extraordinary amount of donations to the foodbank. Thank you so much for your generosity and it is a fitting tribute to Mark’s life and legacy that so much help will be offered to those who need it most.
These donations have now been taken to the Re:store food bank in Northampton – and we had to use 2 trips in a large van to take everything! The volunteers at the food bank have been incredibly moved by the generosity of the school community – especially as they knew Mark personally.
We also appreciate the thoughtful and inspiring tributes that have been sent for inclusion in the book of condolence. These will form the basis for a wonderful tribute to a teacher and a person who meant so much to so many. Once this is complete, we will keep a copy at Wollaston School and send another to Mark’s Family. We will close the email address on Monday afternoon, so if you would like to make a contribution and have not yet done so, the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
After this weekend, we will then carefully remove all the items left and collect everything together and send all of the banners, pictures, cards and letters to Mark’s wife and children. I am sure they will appreciate knowing the esteem in which Mark was held by all at Wollaston school.
There are photographs on the school website of both the tributes outside the school gates, and the donations which have been given to the foodbank.
Thank you for all your support and tributes to Mr Wade, he will be enormously missed by us all.
Return of students in Years 10 and 12
In considering how a socially distanced school should operate we have aimed for the best education possible, in the safest way possible. Thank you to all students, staff and parents for your support in making the first steps of the return to school so steady, careful and successful. As you may be aware we are opening to the maximum number of students at the earliest possible opportunity. This means that we are now operating three separate ‘bubbles’ of students in our LAW (Learning at Wollaston) school provision for the children of critical workers and those requiring additional support. In addition we are opening to 25% of all Year 10 students each day as well as 25% of Year 12 students.
Although this is of course way below our usual capacity, I cannot stress just what a logistical and practical challenge this has been. I would like to publically recognise the students and staff have followed all of the new routines and guidance perfectly, enabling us to operate as safely as possible. Attendance has been excellent, over 75% in Year 10 and 84% in Year 12, which we understand far exceeds what has been routinely achieved both locally and nationally.
Thank you again for making this work so effectively and despite the need for social distancing we have seen very happy faces and positive feedback from staff and students regarding their experience in school. We have aimed for an atmosphere which is physically distant but emotionally close and I hope that we have achieved this.
We have greatly missed having all of our students in school and look forward to welcoming back students from other year groups as soon as we are able to do so.
We are continuing to increase the number of interactive lessons in all year groups. These may take the form of video clips, talking PowerPoints or ‘live’ video conference style lessons. For the remaining period of the summer term, we will continue to provide as much meaningful interactive learning as possible and with an aim that students in every year group have at least one live lesson per subject per fortnight. We continue to be incredibly grateful to parents and families for supporting your children’s learning during this unprecedented closure. Teaching staff are available on email – so if you do have any subject specific queries, or, need additional work, please do email the relevant subject teacher.
Covid Catch-up Plan
You may be aware that the government have today announced a £1 Billion package to support schools to tackle the impact of lost teaching time. Whilst it will take some time to go through the detail (we only receive news as it is released through the media) we warmly welcome the concept that funding will be released directly to school to enable us to make decisions on how this is most effectively utilised.
The concept of the plan is to provide small group tuition targeted to students who require this. In addition to their usual educational entitlement, there will be additional support to achieve this through a national tutor programme, which will provide the extra capacity and personnel required to deliver this successfully.
We also welcome the news that this is not just a short term ‘summer school’ programme, but rather a longer term provision which will help in ensuring that this work is meaningful and has a genuine impact.
We are awaiting the full guidance from the Department for Education, and more news to follow in the coming weeks.
As you will be aware, we had hoped to have all year 6 on site at some stage during the week of 6th July 2020. Unfortunately we have now been given clarification from the Department for Education, that this is not allowed under current guidance.
Our attention now turns to providing an effective ‘virtual’ transition and Mr Beeby is working on plans for this with our partner primary schools. We will also ensure that a full programme of transition is planned for September
The year 11 transition to sixth form has already been planned as an online process and Mr Mills will remain in contact with all of the details.
We will be using some of the released time on the week of 6th July to provide additional face to face time in school for students in years 10 and 12. Further details to follow from Mr Mills and Mrs Walker.
As always, thank you for absolutely everything that you are doing to support your children and to support the school. This has been a time of intense sadness, but also one in which kindness, positivity, unity, generosity and an appreciation of life and of others has flourished and blossomed.
There is no better tribute to Mr Mark Wade.
Have a restful weekend
Mr J Birkett